|By Cloud Ventures||
|February 21, 2011 01:53 PM EST||
Recently the City of Ottawa released an RFP for a Citizen Service Management (CSM) solution that can unite all of their service departments into a consistent customer experience.
Like most large organizations the city operates an estate of legacy applications to provide services like permits, licencing, police enforcement dispatch and incident tracking, maintenance scheduling and so forth, and they want to provide a singuar user interface to these via 311 call centres, web sites, kiosks, counters, emails, mobile other access channels for their residents.
This is a significant technology challenge. The legacy estate features major applications like SAP for the bulk of their ERP needs, which runs on a Solaris/Oracle platform, and then also each of the smaller departments typically runs their own dedicated software package for their particular business process needs, whether that be the parks inventory or property listings. Each needs integrated into this environment.
Fundamentally this is the principle challenge all government agencies face. In this modern Web 2.0 world they need to integrate their legacy systems and present them to the web for direct citizen engagement.
This project highlights the type of opportunity for Cloud providers that is available within an overall context of Open Government (OG).
For Ottawa’s requirements one option is Open311, a FOSS initiative for exactly this purpose that demonstrates the benefits go even further, extending to include Open Data and Open Innovation too.
FOSS itself is created via the processes of collective intelligence that Open Government is also intended to harness for civic engagement, and so it is especially powerful for this purpose. Open311 is part of the OpenPlans suite, which blends together open source software with Open Data, visual mapping software and dynamic citizen-engagement models.
There are numerous case studies that demonstrate the innovative new ways to engage the public into government process that this combination enables, like video journalism and Landgate Collaborative Mapping. Ottawa has requirements like their ‘Potholes Report’ that could be effectively addressed through this type of approach.
This overall trend has been described as ‘Wiki Government’ by Beth Noveck, the Open Government leader for the USA, who designed and led the ‘Peer to Patent’ project, radically transforming how the patent application process works by utilizing these “crowdsourcing” models. She has authored a book of the same name to explain further.
For Canadian government agencies this can be related directly to their own Open Government resolution, which calls upon Canadian government to embrace the same approach:
“Open government is linked to access to information legislation. However, it extends the concepts inherent in these laws to promote an entirely new way of viewing the role of government and the participation of citizens in it.”
As a Service
The opportunity for service providers is that this software is new, complex and with sparse skills available for implementation and support.
This makes it an ideal candidate for SaaS delivery. All other governments, throughout the world, will be face the same challenges, making it the ideal product suite for service providers to expand globally.
Furthermore telcos are especially well positioned to address the Citizen CRM 2.0 design architecture needs. As highlighted in a previous blog, telcos have set up an open standards framework for achieving this in their own environments that can be reused for this purpose.
This means that not only can they offer the software on a SaaS basis, but also that this comes with Citizen-centric SOA integration “baked in”.